The feet are sore as well as your bags feel weighed down with bricks, however you can’t go home because you’ve only ticked off half the Christmas list. Suddenly, the gift card section morphs from the “no go zone” into a “one size fits all” solution.
It appears there’s no stopping the booming rise in popularity of amazon gift code. They’re convenient, there’s a huge range of brands (Netflix, Bonds and Domino’s Pizza, among others), and you could even personalise them.
But you should be careful, because you may ultimately be throwing free money on the retailer. A brand new survey exclusively shared with us by NSW Fair Trading showed 89 per cent of 300 respondents enjoyed a problem redeeming a present card.
The biggest problem they encountered was the card had expired. Some tried to talk to store staff and managers, others lodged a complaint. Overall, 69 % said the retailer still refused to take the card.
Let’s talk about the funds. The gift card market is worth as much as $2.5 billion each and every year. Two-thirds in the survey respondents couldn’t redeem their cards. Also, a 2014 Choice survey found 35 % of respondents had used none of the value of one or more gift card in the last 36 months.
The figures are rough, the science isn’t perfect, but we could guess an enormous amount of money will be wasted each year.
I will count myself lucky. After I was cleaning I found a $50 gift card to get a book store that expired 3 years ago. As opposed to throwing it in the bin, I needed a chat with one of the employees (I avoided mentioning my job) and the man kindly let me redeem the total amount. I went home with three new books.
This may not be an anti-gift card piece. I wish to encourage anyone to think twice and offer some suggestions so that your Christmas present will probably be used and never forgotten. Here are the problems:
Shops go bust: Since we saw earlier this coming year Dic-k Smith collapsed and 1000s of gift card holders, including one woman who possessed $3600 worth, were left with virtually nothing. Take into account Macquarie has predicted more retail collapses, and cites Fast Future Brands (Valley Girl and TEMT) and Pepkor (Harris Scarfe and finest & Less) for being unprofitable.
Gift certificates for most brands can easily be bought at places like supermarkets along with the post office.
Gift cards for many brands can easily be bought at places like supermarkets along with the post office. Photo: Danielle Smith
Fees: Thankfully nearly all gift certificates inside the Australian market have zero fees because they’re “closed loop”. Though Westfield’s gift card demands a $2.95 “service charge”. I do believe the worst deals are definitely the “open loop” Visa and Mastercard-branded gift certificates, which can be used wherever they’re accepted but come with a wide range of fees.
Take the Australia Post Visa Prepaid gift card as an example. You need to fork out $6 to get the card, $4 to talk to someone concerning your balance or transaction history, and $4 to get support on the phone. I would mention you should check your balance via text for 25 cents or online free of charge.
Expiry dates: Most cards are valid for 12 months or 24 months. Reconsider cards with three or six month expiry, like the one for Ella Bache beauty salons. Needs to be noted, some retailers do offer a grace period. Consumer group Choice is calling for the minimum expiry period being 5yrs.
Money advance fees: It’s probable that if you utilize your bank card to buy a gift card, it will be treated like a cash loan. So check along with your provider. Advisable to use cash or input it on a debit card instead.
Here are some tips:
Offer flexibility: Unless you know they’d love a Sportsgirl or Smiggle gift card, it’s far better to decide on a retailer that offers a multitude of products. You might also invest in a card to get a shopping centre or a team of stores, such as a Coles Group & Myer Gift Card. Mary Steffel, a psychologist at Northeastern University in the united states, said the greater specific a gift card is, the not as likely it is to be redeemed. “If you’re not sure what your recipient wants, let them have the gift of flexibility,” she told the latest York Times.
Subtly ask: Let the recipient to work with the credit card sooner, as opposed to later. Consumer advocate Christopher Zinn suggests asking your beloved a few months across the track as to what they ended up being buying together with the card.
Ensure that it stays visible: Be sure the card is in their wallet. When the issue and expiry dates aren’t written in the card, obtain a permanent marker and write the data entirely on it. You may also want to help keep your receipts and jot down details like the card number.
If something fails, lodge a complaint with NSW Fair Trading. Happy shopping.